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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Michelle Obama and Her 'Angel Hair' Jewelry

US first lady Michelle Obama continues to be a strong promoter of jewelry designers. She was seen wearing Doves by Doron Paloma during the 2014 Governors Dinner in the State Dining Room of the White House, held Sunday, February 23. 

The gemstone for the earrings and ring is “Angel Hair” quartz, also known as rutilated quartz. Gold-colored strands can be seen inside the milky white gems.

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Classic Watches with Subtle Innovations at SIHH 2014

Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar

There’s just 16 luxury watch brands that exhibit at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH), but the amount of watches that are produced each year is staggering. This year was no exception as I go through the new pieces. This new group represents classic watches, with unusual twists. Each is very different even though they can be grouped under the same category of watches.

Montblanc Meisterstück Heritage Perpetual Calendar
In terms of brands, the story of SIHH has to be Montblanc. First came the Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph 100, which combines the expertise in its watch manufacturing facility in Le Locle with its Villeret manufacturing facility, known for its handmade movements.

Perhaps just as significant was the release of its Meisterstück Heritage Collection. The line was inspired by the 90th anniversary of the brand’s iconic Meisterstück writing instrument. The top piece in this collection is its perpetual calendar model (top photo), which has to be the first watch with a perpetual calendar and a moon phase for 10,000 euros ($13,700). An 18k rose gold model costs about 16,900 euros ($23,200).

The classic 39mm watch is powered by the automatic caliber MB 29.15.

The date is shown at 3 o’clock, the day of the week at 9 o’clock and the month at 12 o’clock. On the inner scale of the month display, the leap-year cycle is shown by a blue triangle and a leap year is indicated by a red number 4. The moon’s phases are emulated in a window at 6 o’clock; with the moon’s age indicated in days at this window’s upper edge. The only drawback I see is a lack of space between the sub-dials. Other than that this watch has earned the Meisterstück (masterpiece) name.

Van Cleef & Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs
Another brand that had an exceptional SIHH was Van Cleef & Arpels whose biggest introduction was the Midnight Planétarium Poetic Complication. Now comes the Pierre Arpels Heure d’ici & Heure d’ailleurs, which translates as “The Time Here and the Time Elsewhere.” This watch manages to combine the romantic and practical notions of travel and it does so simply, playfully and elegantly.

First the practical, the dual timezone watch comes in a 42mm white gold case with a crown-set diamond. The dial is made of white lacquer with piqué motif. The automatic movement was developed by the Swiss watchmaking firm, Agenhor, exclusively for Van Cleef & Arpels. It has a double jumping hour and retrograde minutes.

There’s a pureness to the appearance of the white dial that displays the two timezones equally. The main timezone is in the aperture at the top of the dial and the secondary timezone in a lower aperture. There’s a single hand between the hour displays that indicates the minutes on the graduated scale.

The hours of the first and second time zones jump at the same time, thanks to a single sector that synchronizes the two hour discs and the retrograde minute hand. When the latter reaches 60 minutes on the graduated scale, it returns to its starting position at the same instant that the hour display changes.

To do this, the automatic movement is equipped with a platinum micro-rotor that takes up little space. By oscillating in two directions, it can supply energy continuously.

Officine Panerai Radiomir 1940 Chronograph
This watch is available in platinum, red gold and white gold. The 45mm classic cushion case has two push-buttons that control the chronograph functions, the cylindrical winding crown and the bezel. It was originally created by Officine Panerai for the Royal Italian Navy.

The red gold version has a brown dial with the combination of graphic hour markers, Roman and Arabic numerals (known as “California”). The platinum version has an ivory dial, with simple baton or dot hour markers. Common to all three versions is the tachymeter scale for calculating average speed and the two chronograph counters.

The mechanical, hand-wound OP XXV caliber movement is developed on a Minerva 13-22 base. The Minerva manufacture (now owned by Montblanc and known as Villeret) has had historic links with Panerai since the 1920s, when the Swiss manufacturer was a supplier to the Florentine watchmaker.

It is available in a limited edition of 100 for both gold versions and 50 for the platinum version.

Parmigiani Toric Résonance 3
The “oversized” date on this watch solves a practical problem of being able to easily see the display. But aside from the practical and aesthetic considerations, Parmigiani said the impetus behind the eye-shaped window came from a watchmaking challenge. The discs on the date mechanism are the same size as the dial. Despite being cut to a great degree of fineness, they require huge amounts of energy to activate them and even more to stop them dead following the instantaneous jump.

To accomplish this, the first cam accumulates energy through continuous friction over time. This arms the large lever continuously, releasing it every 24 hours onto a 31-tooth wheel. The second cam serves as the brake, by controlling a spring-mounted lever. This device keeps the large date discs permanently immobile, releasing them for just a fraction of a second every 24 hours to allow the instantaneous jump.

The center of the dial employs hand-crafted guilloché decoration that enhances the depth of the date. The 45mm watch is powered by the mechanical hand-wound Caliber PF 359, which also has a minute repeater sounding the hours, quarter-hours and minutes.

Baume & Mercier Clifton Flying Tourbillon
This watch is inspired by a tourbillon pocket watch presented by Alcide Baume in 1892 at the Kew Observatory in England. It is powered by the Val Fleurier P591 mechanical hand-wound movement has a 50-hour power reserve. The flying toubillon, located at 9 o’clock, makes a single rotation per minute. A sub-dial displaying seconds is located at 6 o’clock. The 45.5mm case is made of 18k red gold.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin
The ultra-thin classical automatic watch has an aesthetically pleasing traditional design. However, creating this sort of simplicity isn’t always simple to achieve. The 38.5 mm timepiece, available in pink gold or stainless steel, is refined and elegant. A single sub-dial on the “eggshell” white dial shows seconds. The thickness of the watch is a mere 7.58mm.

Jaeger-LeCoultre was able to achieve this level of thinness and simplicity through its automatic movement Caliber 896. The 3.98mm thin movement has a 43-hour power reserve.

Ralph Lauren Safari Watch
The luxury design brand introduced a 39mm version of its Safari Aged Steel Chronometer (RL67) as a follow-up to the collection introduced at SIHH 2013. The hand-wound mechanical movement Caliber: RL 300-1 is COSC-certified for the accuracy and precision of its chronometer. It has a 42-hour power reserve. The case is made of aged black steel and the dial of “azure” anthracite with matte varnish and beige luminescent hour and minute hands and hour markers, and a shiny orange second hand.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Charriol to Become Alor in Rebranding Effort

Alor's new advertising campaign.

The parent company of cable jewelry company Charriol USA is taking back its name. 

Alor International Ltd., said it is returning to its roots with a name change back to Alor. Founded in 1979 by Jack and Sandy Zemer, Alor designs, creates and manufactures stainless steel cable, 18k gold and diamond jewelry collections and timepieces (which debuted in 2013). Jack is the chief designer. It was branded as Alor jewelry from 1979-1992. In 1992, the name changed to Charriol to reflect the company's relationship with Philippe Charriol International

The new name will be supported by a multi-tiered advertising and marketing campaign beginning in March. 

In March, the name will appear in case displays, signage and support materials where its products are sold, which includes Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Sidney Thomas and hundreds of independent jewelers in the US, Canada, Caribbean and Mexico. It’s also in more than two dozen independent jewelry stores in Australia. 

In April, Alor will debut a new national ad campaign featuring model Noot Seear photographed by Justin Coit that will attempt to appeal to younger customers. Jack says the new campaign has “a current, relevant and fashionable feel.” The print campaign will appear in Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Elle Canada, Niche Media publications and regional fashion media. 

The brand’s official re-launch will be on exhibit at Couture at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas at the end of May.

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Luxury Jeweler Buccellati Begins A New Chapter

Sketches of Buccellati's new solitaire engagement ring, which will be unveiled in March.

The Italian high jewelry house, Buccellati, is undergoing a rebranding effort in an attempt to present a more contemporary image. It includes the company’s first-ever engagement ring line; a high-tech, high-jewelry introduction; a redesigned logo; and something new in the watch category that is “top secret.” 

The focal point of this change is the promotion of its youngest family member, Lucrezia Buccellati. The 24-year-old recently began working as the company’s fourth-generation designer. She will be sharing the design duties with her father, Andrea, in creating new jewelry collections. She explains that it’s a tradition in the fiercely independent family firm that two generations of the family create the designs. Her promotion came about when her grandfather, Gianmaria, in his mid-80s, recently announced his retirement.

“Now it’s my dad and me, before it was my grandfather and father. Always two generations in the design part. That’s how it works,” she recently said inside Buccellati’s cream-colored boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. “I step now in his chair. It’s a continuation of the generation. I think it’s a big challenge, there’s a little bit of pressure. You never know if it’s going to work, you’re young and it’s your first step in this world. It’s wonderful that there is somebody next to you to help you out like my father.”

In another sign of changing times at Buccellati, Lucrezia is the brand’s first female designer. She thinks this will influence future designs.

“I think that females have a different point of view than men,” she said. “Men think of an ideal woman. A female definitely thinks of a woman as someone more attached to fashion and art and what’s going on in the world around her.”

The family members were tight-lipped when discussing the new products, as they prepare for a March unveiling, but they did provide some details. 

The engagement jewelry collection is the first Buccellati line Lucrezia co-designed with her father. She said the rings are based on a more contemporary version of rings already available in the company's "honeycomb" pattern, perhaps the best-known of all of the jewelry-making techniques used by the company. It is appropriate because the pattern is similar to the Tulle netting technique for fabric often used for veils. In order to create the honeycomb shape, an artisan uses a labor-intensive and time-consuming technique of sawing pentagon-shaped holes with a fine blade.

The fine, net-like patterns will be enhanced with a center stone, which is what their clients want, according to Maria Cristina Buccellati, another member of the firm and Lucrezia’s aunt.

“The way we are used to seeing the solitaire is fine, but we wanted to add a touch of Buccellati so we created a round center stone with more workmanship,” Maria Cristina said. “We realized that a lot of people say they like this as an engagement ring but it doesn’t have a center stone so we designed a special collection with this kind of workmanship with this style and with a center stone.”

The high-tech introduction will be a one-of-a-kind iPad and iPhone cover. This was Lucrezia’s solo project. She said it will be “the most expensive and exclusive iPhone and iPad cover in the world.” It will include diamonds and signature gold engraving techniques. However, she promises it will be more refined and elegant than similar blinged-out products that are available. Leonardo DiVinci is the inspiration behind the design.

The company will also unveil a redesigned logo, as early as March, as part of year-long effort to make the brand appear more contemporary and attract a younger clientele. 

The one thing that won’t change is the craftsmanship behind Buccellati’s 18k jewelry. The company works exclusively with a stable of nearly 300 artisans throughout Italy who are skilled in a specific technique of making jewelry. Most are family shops, like Buccellati, that hand down their craft to the next generation. Because of this, the company only produces one-of-a-kind or extremely limited-editions of their pieces. It produces approximately 4,000 pieces per year, which includes its handmade silver objects (which the company also is known for) and watches.

For example, to create a one-of-a-kind collection using a particular kind of antique filigree technique (which involves delicate beading or threading of precious metal), the company had to go to Sardinia to find a family firm who still did this kind of work.

These are family firms that share the same value for craftsmanship as Buccellati, Lucrezia said.

“We know them all (personally) and we know their families,” she said. “You grow together. We learn from them and they learn from us. Our treasure for us is not the jewelry. Our treasure is our artisans."

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Signet Jewelers To Acquire Zale Corp.

Mike Barnes, Signet CEO, will lead the combined companies.

In a surprise announcement two of the largest retailers in the US have agreed to become one company. 

Signet Jewelers Limited, the largest specialty retail jeweler in the US and the UK, and Zale Corporation, a leading specialty retailer of fine jewelry in North America, said Wednesday that they have entered into a definitive agreement for Signet to acquire all of the issued and outstanding stock of Zale for $21 per share in cash, or $690 million. Including debt, the deal values Zale at $1.4 billion. 

The transaction brings together two of today's leading jewelry retailers with six of the most recognizable brands across four countries. The combined company will have approximately 3,500 retail locations in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico and the UK with combined sales of $6.2 billion “and enhanced operating capabilities expected to generate approximately $100 million in annual synergies within three fiscal years,” the two companies said in a joint statement released Wednesday morning. 

Mike Barnes, Signet CEO  will hold the same position in the combined company, according to the statement. Theo Killion, Zale CEO, will continue to operate the Zale portion of the business and report to Barnes.

"This transformational acquisition further diversifies our businesses and extends our international footprint, opening the door to greater growth and innovation across the enterprise," Barnes said. "The addition of Zale to the Signet family is consistent with our long-term growth strategy and leverages our combined operating expertise to create better choices for our customers, new opportunities for our employees, and makes us a more attractive partner to our vendors. In addition, it allows us to better optimize our balance sheet, creating long-term value for our shareholders. We are excited about the prospects for the combined company and the many opportunities that this creates for our future.”

Killion added, "Having successfully completed our multi-year turnaround program to return to profitability, Signet's operating strengths will enable us to accelerate Zale's performance improvement for the benefit of our current and future guests."

Signet's offer represents a premium of 41 percent over Zale's closing price as of February 18, according to the statement. It represents 7.4 times the EBITDA value over a 12-month period. As part of the transaction, Signet has entered into a voting and support agreement with Golden Gate Capital, the beneficial owner of approximately 22 percent of Zale's common stock. The transaction is expected to be high single-digit percentage accretive to earnings in the first full fiscal year after the close of the transaction, excluding acquisition accounting adjustments and one-time transaction costs.

The acquisition is expected to be financed through bank debt, other debt financing and the securitization of a significant portion of Signet's accounts receivable portfolio.

Signet has 1,400 retail locations that operate under the brands Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and regional brands. Signet's UK division operates approximately 500 stores primarily under the brands of H.Samuel and Ernest Jones.

Zale Corp. has 1,680 retail locations in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Its brands include Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers and Piercing Pagoda.

The transaction is subject to Zale stockholder approval, certain regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and provided a fairness opinion to the board of directors of Signet and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. committed to provide bridge financing for the transaction. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP acted as legal counsel to Signet in connection with the transaction. BofA Merrill Lynch acted as exclusive financial advisor and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP acted as legal counsel to Zale in connection with the transaction.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2013 Gold Jewelry Demand Up 17%

Marco Bicego 18k gold bracelet

Gold jewelry demand in 2013 saw the largest volume increase in 16 years as consumers across the globe reacted to lower gold prices, the World Gold Council said Tuesday. Full year demand was 2,209.5 tons, 17 percent above 2012 levels.

In addition, the fourth quarter of 2013 was the sixth consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth with demand of 553.8 tons, 12 percent above the five-year quarterly average, the WGC said in its market report, Gold Demand Trends: Full year 2013 Review. Jewelry consumption saw continuous growth throughout 2013, with the bulk of the increase coming in the first half of the year due to China and other Asian countries whose consumers responded quickly when the price first dropped. However, even during the second half of the year, the volume of demand continued, increasing by 7 percent year-over-year.

Also in the fourth quarter, the US and the UK generated a combined 14 tons of this growth. “Although the fourth quarter is traditionally strongest in these markets, due to the Christmas effect, these numbers are significant given their size and direction – the first year-on-year increase in Q4 demand in both markets since 2001,” WGC said in its report.

In addition to jewelry, the WGC report measures gold consumption in technology, investment and central bank purchases. The value of overall annual jewelry demand fell 28 percent in 2013 from its record highs a year earlier. However, in terms of jewelry demand, the value fell less than 2 percent, showing its strength in volume terms. 

New gold jewelry consumption records were set in India, China and Turkey in 2013. Even Japan, with its struggling economy recorded the highest value for the precious metal since 2008.  

“A longer term perspective shows that an increasing share of global collective wealth has been allocated to gold jewelry since 2003 (with the exception of 2009, during the worst of
the financial crisis),” the WGC said in its report. “In 2013, gold jewelry value was almost 0.14 percent of global GDP compared with less than 0.08 percent ten years previously. Significantly, jewelry share of global GDP in 2013 was one fifth higher than 1997, which was the
peak year for gold jewelry demand in tonnage.”

The year 2013 was also notable because of the increasing preference for higher-karat jewelry, particularly in China (24k jewelry). “This trend became more entrenched as the year progressed, benefitting from the quasi-investment element to jewelry purchases, particularly as the upsurge in demand in Q2 and Q3 led to a shortage of retail investment products.”

In the US, where the top end segment has been relatively robust, this trend was more noticeable at the lower end of the market, with mass retail brands shifting away from ultra-low carat items to increasing their stock of 14k jewelry.

Fourth Quarter Jewelry Trends
“Fourth quarter jewelry demand across eastern markets was likely tempered by the magnitude of buying in previous quarters, which on account of falling prices, had ‘cannibalized’ a proportion of future demand,” the WGC said. “In addition, expectations that prices had stabilized released the pressure on consumers who no longer felt they had to make purchases immediately to take advantage of lower prices.”

India - Fourth quarter jewelry demand fell 2 percent year-over-year to 150.7 tons. “The second half of the year was considerably weaker than the exceptional first half, equating to a robust full year total for the sector.”

China and Hong Kong – The WGC is calling the fourth quarter a slowdown from the record numbers during the first half of the year (with the exception of December leading to Chinese New Year), but demand still increased 10 percent to 150.7 tons for Mainland China for the period. In Hong Kong the growth was even greater at 17 percent to 7.9 tons.

Other Asian Markets – China’s pattern was replicated across the other Asian and Middle Eastern markets with strong demand during the first half of the year, tapering off in October as the drop in gold prices stabilized with growth in December. Fourth quarter results are as follows: Taiwan up 2 percent; Indonesia, up 28 percent; South Korea down 7 percent; Thailand up 17 percent; and Vietnam up 9 percent. 

Turkey – The gold jewelry manufacturing center also saw a similar pattern of demand but for different reasons, the WGC said. A strike at the mint between July and September led to a shortage of coins in the market, leading consumers to stock up on gold jewelry. However, once the strike was settled in the fourth quarter consumers went back to gold coins, at the expense of jewelry.

Japan – Its 11 percent growth in the fourth quarter was the exception to the regional trend of strong start and weaker finish to 2013, the WGC said. This was because of encouraging economic news and the anticipation of a sales tax increase from 5 to 8 percent in April, leading consumers to make pre-emptive purchases, where possible, to avoid paying the higher rate.

US and UK – Demand among US and UK consumers led to fourth quarter growth at 21 and 26 percent respectively. As mentioned previously, gold jewelry sales accelerated in the latter months of the year. 

Italy – Demand in this jewelry manufacturing center continued its downward trend falling by 10 percent in the fourth quarter. 

Russia – Jewelry demand reached a five-year high in the fourth quarter (up 6 percent), fueled by continued expansion of the middle class, with growth being concentrated in the second half of the year. 

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Friday, February 14, 2014

10 Olympic Athletes To Receive Gold Medals Embedded With a Piece of Meteorite

A worker creates a special souvenir Olympic medal with a fragment of the Chelyabinsk meteorite at the MAOK art workshop in Zlatoust, Russia. Photo credit: RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Kondratuk

Ten Athletes fortunate enough to win their competitions at the 2014 Sochi Olympics on February 15 (Saturday) will receive special gold medals containing an outer-worldly material. 

The 10 winners will receive gold medals with a piece of the Chelyabinsk meteor inside. The medals are meant to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the meteor crashing into the central Russian city of Chelyabinsk in the Ural region. 

The medals will be awarded to athletes by the deputy chairman of the Chelyabinsk region, Vadim Yermolaev, according to Pravda. A total of 50 commemorative gold medals have been made. In addition to the 10 to be given to athletes tomorrow, one will remain on permanent display at the Sochi Olympic Park and the remaining medals will eventually be sold to private collectors. The medals were made at the MAOK art studio in the town of Zlatoust.

This link shows a video of the making of the commemorative gold medals from a Russian TV new station.

The Chelyabinsk meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere over Russia at almost 60 times the speed of sound, according to Wikipedia. The light from the meteor was brighter than the Sun. The asteroid explosion released as much energy as an estimated 500,000 tons of TNT, sending a shockwave twice around the globe. It caused widespread damage and injured more than 1,000 people in the Chelyabinsk area. Measuring about 20 meters, it is the largest known natural object to have entered Earth's atmosphere since 1908.

A 112.2 gram (3.96 oz) Chelyabinsk meteorite specimen, one of many found within days of the airburst, this one between the villages of Deputatsky and Emanzhelinsk. Scale cube is 1 cm (0.39 in). Photo source: Wikipedia

All totaled, there will be approximately 1,300 medals awarded for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics (including those that will be awarded at the Paralympic Winter Games). 

The “podium value” of the gold medal (outside of the 10 commemorative gold medals) is approximately $566. Each gold medal weighs 531 grams with a thickness of 10 mm, and a diameter of 100 mm. If the gold medal was made of solid gold its value would be approximately $21,478, which is why the last time pure gold medals were presented was in 1912. 

The gold, silver and bronze medals for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo credit: AP/Dmitry Lovetsky

The gold medals contain 525 grams of silver with a 960 hallmark (beyond the 925 hallmark that International Olympics Committee stipulates) and 6 grams of gold with a 999 hallmark (also a gold medal requirement). 

The silver medals contain 525 grams of silver with a 960 hallmark. Its podium value is approximately $323. The bronze medals are made of copper mixed with zinc and tin (the elements of bronze) with a 460 hallmark. Its value is about $3.25. 

These prices do not reflect the labor and other expenses related to making the medals.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Three Jewelry Designers Win Centurion Emerging Designer Competition

Babette Shennan’s Sterling silver and 14k yellow gold, “Gingko” hinged cuff has antiqued silk finish accented with tsavorite garnets (6.8 ctw.).

Babette Shennan, Stanislav Drokin, and Rhyme & Reason were named the winners of the Centurion 2014 Emerging Designer Competition. All three were awarded with their U.S. tradeshow debut at the Centurion Jewelry Show, which was held Feb. 1 -4 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Centurion Emerging Designer competition, now in its sixth year, drew a record of 90 entries from luxury jewelry designers around the world. The first round of judging was conducted by three industry design experts: celebrity stylist and TV commentator Michael O’Connor; GIA’s global jewelry manufacturing arts director Mark Mann; and Stuller’s executive director of product development, Gary Baines. They were tasked with narrowing down to 12 finalists, and the Centurion Board of Retail Advisors then voted to select the winners. Each of the three winners received free exhibition space at the luxury jewelry tradeshow.

Babette Shennan’s 18k white and yellow gold convertible “Gingko” earrings, featuring lens cut aquamarines (54.76 ctw), are two earrings in one. 

The work of Babette Shennan is closely linked to her travels and memories. During her graduate gemology program at GIA, she won The Silver Trend Project design competition sponsored by HSN and her winning bracelet was manufactured and sold on air. More recently, she won second place “Best In Show” at the Women’s Jewelry Association’s Designer By The Bay Event in Northern California. She divides her time between San Francisco and New York City.

Stanislav Drokin's 18k yellow and blackened gold ring with fire opal center and diamond and sapphire accents. 

Stanislav Drokin was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. After school, he was hired as apprentice engraver at an industrial factory, carving stamps for marking technical details. After seven years, he became a master engraver. He also studied jewelry from 1992 to 1994 and eventually found work creating master models for jewelry companies.

Stanislav Drokin's Phoenix earrings in 18k white gold with tourmaline and pink and purple sapphire.

In 1994 he founded his own jewelry atelier (“S.D.”). In 1998, Stanislav became a member of the Designers Union of Ukraine and an international association, the Society of Designers. That year, he also went for further study in the gemological centers of Kiev, Ukraine; Idar-Oberstein, Germany; and Warsaw, Poland. In Germany, Drokin met world-famous jeweler André Enskat, who had a significant impact on his design philosophy. Today, he is the winner of competitions in Ukraine and Russia, and earned a master’s degree in design in 2011. He also organized the Ukrainian festival of design "YuvelirArtProm," in Kharkiv Art Museum, in 2004.

Rhyme & Reason Sacred Story bridal group in 18k white gold with diamonds and sapphire. 

Rhyme & Reason, based in Boston, is the collaboration of Vahé Ghazarian, Esin Guler, and Mihran Guler. Vahé The three joined forces and formed G&G Creations—recently renamed Rhyme & Reason—and in 2014 were chosen as the winner of the “Future of Design” business incubator competition sponsored by designer jewelry and business experts Cindy Edelstein and Andrea Hill. As the winner, along with other prizes Rhyme & Reason was awarded one of Centurion’s Emerging Designer exhibition spaces.

Rhyme & Reason "Love" family of hearts in oxidized silver with 24k gold inlay, rubies, full-cut white, black and blue diamonds, and yellow and orange sapphires.

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UBM Asia’s Shenzhen Fair Opens February 26

More than 380 exhibitors from 13 countries will be showcasing their products and services during the 12th edition of the China International Gold, Jewellery & Gem Fair – Shenzhen, to be held February 26 to March 1 at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center. 

The tradeshow is timed for jewelers to restock their inventories of jewelry, gemstones and related products following the Christmas and Chinese New Year shopping seasons. 

This year’s show will include a new element, the “China Jewellery Market Summit 2014.” Co-organized by UBM Asia’s Shenzhen Fair, CJNA and Shenzhen Jewelry Designers Association, the summit is divided into three main parts: “Spring Collection 2014 - Launch of New Products and Designers’ Products,” “Dialogue with China Jewellery Brands, Retailers and Designers,” and “ China’s Jewellery Retail Sector.” The summit will be held during the first two days of the fair. 

In addition, there will be collections focusing on jewelry trends for the spring from some of the top jewelry companies and independent jewelers in China. 

The trade fair will have leaders of the Chinese jewelry industry discussing seasonal jewelry trends, increasing brand value and the balance between creativity and commercial marketability. 

A separate forum will be held to discuss the opportunities and challenges in China’s jewelry retail market. 

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Michelle Obama Wears Sutra Earrings During State Dinner for Francois Hollande

It’s the ultimate celebrity endorsement. Michelle Obama wore a pair Sutra blue sapphire and diamond earrings to an official state dinner Tuesday in honor of French President Francois Hollande.

It’s not the first time the first lady wore Sutra jewelry. She has been wearing Sutra pieces at formal gatherings since at least 2010. Only two years after the company was founded by designer Arpita Navlakha.

The first lady wore the earrings with a blue Carolina Herrera gown.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Signet Jewelers Becomes Sponsor’s D.E.F. ‘Diamonds in the Sky’ Gala

Signet Jewelers Ltd., the largest specialty jewelry retailer in the US and UK, has become the first “Premier Presenting Sponsor” of the “Diamonds in the Sky” Gala Event, hosted by the Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F).

The event will be held on May 29th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. D.E.F. is a global non-profit organization that raises money to fund education initiatives in diamond-producing nations. It was co-founded by business magnate Russell Simmons and leaders in the diamond industry in 2007. Signet Jewelers is best-known in the US as the owners of Kay Jewelers and Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry retail jewelry chains.

The event will bring a mix of the international diamond jewelry industry representatives, government officials from diamond producing nations, dignitaries and celebrities from fashion and entertainment. The proceeds will benefit D.E.F’s ‘Diamonds Do Good’ mission of providing higher education scholarships for youth from diamond producing countries. 

Presentation of the Diamond Empowerment Fund 2014 Global Diamond Industry Achievement Award will be made to Botswana President Ian Khama in recognition of their global leadership and contributions to democracy, sustainable economic development and the growth and expansion of the international diamond industry. 

“We are thrilled to congratulate Signet as the first Premier Presenting Sponsor for D.E.F on this occasion,” said Phyllis Bergman, president of D.E.F’s board of directors. “We encourage other industry leaders to consider sponsorship opportunities of this important event which celebrates the good diamonds do.” 

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Gubelin Group Returns as JNA Awards Partner

The 2013 JNA Award winners.

The Gubelin Group, known for its fine jewelry that merges Swiss goldsmith craftsmanship with precious gemstones, and its world-renowned scientific gemstone laboratory, has returned for the second year in a row as an “Honored Partner” of the JNA Awards 2014

The Swiss-based company joins “Headline Partners” Rio Tinto and Chow Tai Fook, and fellow Honored Partners Israel Diamond Institute, KARP Group and Shanghai Diamond Exchange for the event to be held September 16, during the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair.

Organized by Jewellery News Asia, Asia’s leading jewelry trade publication, the annual JNA Awards honors innovators and leaders of the international jewelry industry in manufacturing, branding, retailing, best business practice, innovation, sustainability and outstanding contribution.

In 2013, the awards recognized 16 recipients across 16 categories at a ceremony and gala dinner attended by over 500 industry luminaries at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Hong Kong. Industry pioneers Leung Sik Wah and Wallace Chan received the "Lifetime Achievement" and "Outstanding Contribution of the Year" awards, respectively, for their distinguished service and accomplishments.

“We are very pleased to welcome back Gubelin's firm support for the JNA Awards. Their deep commitment to top quality and professionalism not only brings lustre to this most anticipated event, it also strongly emphasizes the Awards' reputation as a platform for raising the standard and quality of the jewelry and gemstone industry,” said Letitia Chow, founder of JNA and director of Business Development - Jewellery Group at UBM Asia.

“For Gubelin, the awards marks one of the most important events of the year for the jewelry industry,” said Raphael Gubelin, CEO and Board Member of the Gubelin Group. “It's not only a place to meet friends and partners to strengthen relationships, but also a night where the industry's biggest movers celebrate. And that motivates companies and their employees to constantly evolve and excel.”

Headquartered in Lucerne, Switzerland, Gubelin is a family-owned business now led by sixth-generation members with operations covering jewelry manufacturing and retail. It has eight boutiques in key locations across Switzerland selling jewelry and watches, and one boutique each in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong focused on selling only jewelry pieces. Last year, Gubelin enhanced its presence in Hong Kong by inaugurating its VIP Salon in Gloucester Tower at The Landmark and opening the Gubelin Academy that offers courses aimed at trade professionals, private clients and connoisseurs of colored gemstones.

The group also operates its world-renowned Gubelin Gem Lab, one of the oldest and most respected institutions of its kind, widely trusted on by dealers, auction houses, royal families and collectors since the 1920s.

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